The European Commission on Sunday welcomed the United States Department of Agriculture's recent announcement to bring the US legislation in line with international standards for BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease. "This will mean that EU beef and other bovine products will again be allowed for US export. The US market has been closed since January 1998 when the US imposed a ban on EU beef on BSE grounds. The re-opening is a welcome, albeit late, step to abolish the unjustified ban and to re-establish normal trading conditions," said the EUs executive body in a statement. The US market has been closed to any EU beef, since 1997, when the US introduced import restrictions on beef, sheep and goats and their products on the basis of BSE concerns. The statement added that EU expects that remaining import restrictions on EU sheep and goat products will be lifted soon as well and the US import conditions be fully aligned with international standards shortly.